With Detroit under the national spotlight as a hub for creativity, many people are chomping at the bit to see what the buzz is all about. As Forward Arts rounded out its first year as an organization, it added Art Ride to its repertoire of projects that use art to transform and engage the community. Art Ride is a donation-based public art bike tour that exposed guests to some of the hidden gems of our city, including Recycle Here!, Hamtramck Disneyland, the Powerhouse Projects and Heidelberg Project satellite site “Street Folk 2.” Forward Arts partnered with Criterium Detroit City, Bikes & Murder, The Hub of Detroit, Inside Detroit, Vitamin Water and Downtown Ferndale Bike Shop to help make the ride, which had about 100 attendees, a success. Of the money raised, 40 percent of the proceeds from the tour will be donated to other community organizations, such as Heidelberg Project, The Hub of Detroit for its Saturday bike program for kids and Woodbridge Neighborhood Development Corporation. The rest will go to Forward Arts for paid artist opportunities and other costs.
The bike ride culminated at the opening of “Access Arts Scripps Park Public Art Exhibit II,” the second part of a series of exhibitions held at the historically rich Anna Scripps Park in Detroit’s Woodbridge neighborhood. Louis Casinelli, founder of Access Arts, directs Forward Arts visual arts and education program. As such, the opening reception at Scripps included seven installations, two youth art workshops and the work of students from its ongoing classes. More than 15 organizations and stakeholders of the park came together to recognize the exhibition as a vehicle of park renewal and community engagement. This is a clear example of why art improves the quality of our lives. On a sunny day, kids built forts with their family and neighbors, and a diverse crowd admired the art pieces, while mingling in the park and snaking on delicious treats from the Pink FlaminGO! food truck. It created a positive energy that people were attracted to, and everyone walked away with a little bit of culture, weather they expected to or not.